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Do I need to get a grip ? Family Issues (Long - Sorry)

(32 Posts)
Tomuchsewing Sun 16-Aug-15 22:29:34

I’ve had a conversation today with my mother and I’ve been really struggling since.

Chances are this will out me, but to be honest given the frame of mind it has left me in I couldn’t care less. I am prepared to be told that I am being unreasonable and to get a grip but I wanted some outsiders perspective on this. There is a back story that I will give a summary on to fill in the picture and to prevent drip feeding.

When I was child my parents relationship was rocky, my father had a temper and emotional and physical abuse occurred probably on a quarterly basis, usually when he had to much to drink, both my mother and I were subject to it, however my younger sister was not, she was shouted at but no physical violence ever occurred. There was some happy memories in there as well though and it’s those that leave me torn and feeling confused.

My parents divorced in my late twenties when my father had affair with another woman (who knew he was married) and subsequently divorced my mother, then married her, both are remarried and happy. It was only in my twenties what I discovered to be ‘normal’ in a relationship and what was acceptable behaviour, my husband is a wonderful man and has never ever shown any of the behaviour that I thought was normal, after I had my own dc I started questioning a lot of my own childhood and started to get quite angry at a lot of things that happened, and why my mother stood by and put up with it, his behaviour was ALWAYS minimized and brushed under the carpet, upon their divorce she was a lot happier and (stressed at the time as he swindled her out of a lot of money and she very nearly ended up homeless) and his behaviour was disgusting, but yet we all still spoke to him, but it was always everyone else’s fault if he was angry or hit someone as ‘they pushed me and shouldn’t have pushed me that hard’ on one occasion during the divorce there was an altercation between a relative of my mothers and him, this was witnessed by my sister and she ended up in court having to give evidence against him. He was found guilty of GBH but only a suspended sentence – I was horrified at this point and thought ‘I’m not speaking to you anymore’ as each phone call I ever had with him was reducing me to tears with the stress he was putting on me with blaming everyone else and any other thing he could complain about.

My mother through out this has encouraged both my sister and I to speak to him as he is our father, I declined and have found my life to be a lot happier since I stopped speaking to him - he has also never met my dc. Anyway my sister is in a new relationship with a man and he has a child, with it being the school holidays they went on a holiday out where our parents live (we both live in another country) and is staying with our mother and her husband – my mother phones excitedly earlier today and says what a lovely time everyone has had. I said that’s nice and what has everyone been up to today ? I was then told about how they had had my father around with his wife and their children (who are around the same age as my sister’s partners daughter if that makes sense?) for a big family lunch and it was all such a lovely jolly time having all the family together under the old family roof.

My jaw dropped and I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, this is the man who had assaulted his then wife (my mother) NUMEROUS times, has BEATEN his own daughter (me) several times in her childhood (resulting in broken bones on one occasion when I tried to fight back), had an affair whilst still married then compared that woman to his wife with some horrible comments (still makes my stomach churn now at the memory of my mother telling me what he had said) screwed his ex wife to the point of exhaustion where she was on medication and not sleeping through worry she was going to lose the roof over her head, assaulted a relative of hers, and she welcomes him into the old family home where she now lives with her husband (who is as placid and easy going as anything) so they can have one big jolly time with the all the family ?! What the actual fuck ? I seem to be the only one that remembers all the shit that he caused, I frostily said something to my mother about how actually the whole family wasn’t there as I was at home ... she gave a pause and said ‘Yes well, the most important ones anyway’ and then wittered on about wanting to facetime each other so we could all see each other and they could say hello as they hadn’t gone home yet ( my father and his new family) I said ‘No thank you’ and ended the phone call on the pretence the dc needed me.

I came off the call feeling so hurt and annoyed that they could all forgive and forget – I seem to the only one who is bearing a grudge about the past and the rest of my family seem to be in the ‘Never mind, let’s just forget it and pretend it didn’t happen’ camp. I came off the phone and was incredibly grumpy and started to be childish in shutting a few cupboard doors in the kitchen a bit to hard when DH come in and asked what was wrong when I told him about it all, he just took me in his arms whilst I cried like a 2 year old, I’m just left questioning my self and thinking am I being a cold hearted bitch here and feeling so confused about it all. It hurts and I don’t want it hurt but I can’t help even seeming like I’m being betrayed in some bloody crazy way.

Is something wrong with me ?!

chairmeoh Sun 16-Aug-15 22:36:17

God, how awful. You are not a cold hearted bitch. You have very good reason for feeling the way you do.
And I wouldn't mind betting that you are healthier (mentally) than those who have swept it under the carpet.
But you can't change the way they are dealing with it. If they want to re-write history, you can't prevent that.
The worst though, in my opinion, was your DM saying that all the important people were there. Unvelievably hurtful (although probably said in thoughtlessness rather than cruelty).

TiredButFine Sun 16-Aug-15 22:36:20

No there is not. Everyone else has/is processing it in a different way. You will need some counselling to come to terms with your childhood, and them. Your dh sounds fab flowers

ollieplimsoles Sun 16-Aug-15 22:36:44


My dad makes me feel like this some times and he was never physical with us or my mum.

Have you ever told your mum how you feel about how she dealt with your dad's abuse? What do you think she would say if you did?

It almost sounds like he is still able to control your mum tbh, otherwise why would she meet up with him and his ow and play friendly happy families!?

Your husband sounds lovely and supportive, mine is the same when it comes to my dad, luckily I didn't end up with a piece of shit.

bobsbusy Sun 16-Aug-15 22:39:39

Yanbu of course.
Sadly some people will do anything to be the centre of attention and that's what your dm sounds like. I have one too. She may well be enjoying how forgiving, kind and generous her new found buddies see her. It's not a personal attack on you, she sounds self centred and attention seeking.

RandomMess Sun 16-Aug-15 22:40:48

flowers what a double rejection by your DM, not surprised you are so upset.

Werksallhourz Sun 16-Aug-15 22:51:16

Op, I have given up trying to make sense of some of the bewildering things family members do. My Mil has a middle aged niece that actively tries to squeeze money out of her in the most sneaky and nefarious ways possible, and the cognitive dissonance my Mil has about the situation is extraordinary, even when the evidence is beyond doubt (the niece actually faked a break in pils' flat so she could change the locks and retain a key).

I think there comes a point where you just have to leave them to it and protect yourself, where you say: okay, you can live your life like a David Lynch film but I am not going to join you on set.

I reckon if more people took that stance, then their lives would be a lot happier.

mamalovebird Sun 16-Aug-15 22:52:58

I could have written your post a million times over, so fwiw no i dont think yabu.
Some people just seem to be able to 'white out' the past. Watching my dcs grow up make me so pissed off at how my parents treated me. It hurts like hell. It's never spoken about. I don't want some grandiose emotional showdown, just an acknowlegment that what they did was fucked up and maybe even a 'sorry'.

I don't really have any advice but just wanted to say I understand how it feels.

Trust that your dcs will be better people because you are a better person.

SnapesCapes Sun 16-Aug-15 23:00:36

You aren't anything like a cold-hearted bitch. You had what sounds like a dreadful childhood, you have every right to not fall for this happy families nonsense going on. Everyone else there in that group will remember the past, and some will even still resent it or feel hurt by it. But some people are terribly good at putting on a front when it comes to stuff like this.

Your Mum can behave how she likes but the fall-out from her behaviour is that she has a DD whose heart she is breaking. That's on her, not on you. This is their mess, not yours, these are their mistakes. Accepting that some people can't be part of your life isn't the same as holding a grudge and it's not wrong to stop spending time with them if it's what you need.

No advice, just wanted to say you sound lovely, and kind, and so, so courageous having to deal with this. flowers

Pannacott Sun 16-Aug-15 23:02:36

God no there's nothing wrong with you! You have put in some perfectly healthy boundaries to protect yourself and your peace of mind. It sounds like the rest of your family has invested in some marvellous cognitive dissonance to allow themselves to hold on to things they value, like the identity of a happy family, at the cost of being aware of how things really were. And they will resent you for not falling in line, so you will get your nose rubbed in it hmm. I would advise three things - ask them not to talk to you about anything to do with your father. Maybe get some therapy to allow yourself some space to express and have validated how upsetting, frightening and damaging your parents behaviour was, and how angry you feel about it. Finally, focus your attention on your lovely family that you have built for yourself, which is healthy and loving and safe and not built on fear. Good luck!

EmeraldKitten Sun 16-Aug-15 23:14:49

I don't mean to sound heartless, honestly...but you do need to make attempts to get over it, move on, whatever you'd call it.

This is a number of years on, yes? Presumably you knew your family were still in touch with him so I don't know how it was quite such a shock to learn your dad had been there.

People do change, and people move past things and learn to forgive. You have chosen not to, or can't, for your own reasons. The others have. It's just something that you need to deal with tbh.

mamalovebird Sun 16-Aug-15 23:42:22

Emerald that's easier said than done.
The OP said in her post that she was subjected to abuse but her sister wasn't, therefore I'd imagine it's easier for some parties to 'move on'.

It sounds like she has built a good life for herself. Doesn't stop her feeling blindsided by this family dinner situation and reaching out for a bit of support to make sense of her feelings about it.

Some things are hard to forgive (talking from my own perspective of course).

SweetieXPie Sun 16-Aug-15 23:46:24

I am so sorry for the situation you are in.
Your childhood practically mimics mine, although my dad didn't have an affair, my mum actually met someone else after years of emotional and physical abuse, there was also alcohol issues. My dad wasn't as physical with us children as your dad was with you but it was like living on eggshells throughout my entire childhood.
My only happy memories are really with my grandparents who were thankfully round the corner when I was growing up.
I didn't talk to my dad for years after one particularly violent incident, it was actually my mum who convinced me to talk to him again, she is very timid and just wanted everyone to get along.
Fast forward to today my parents are both in new, happy relationships,I do feel resentment towards my father (although he would never know it) especially since I have had my own children, as I realised more how unhappy my childhood was!

It is easy for others to say you should get over it but I can understand you holding on to it all. Have you tried talking to a counsellor, I did a lot when I was younger, initially through school as they were aware of problems at home and police involvement and again in my twenties and it really helped to talk to an outsider.

I would say through it all I am glad I made peace (to a degree) with my dad. I have been able to let go of anger throughout the years.
Good luck to you and your family, whatever happens, sounds like you have a great DH with you which is amazing x

lemoncordial Mon 17-Aug-15 01:28:05

Yanbu. You have every right be upset and angry both about how your parents behaved when you were a child and how they are behaving now.

My childhood sounds very similar to yours. As adults, my siblings and I had very different ways to handling relationships with our parents. We've all had periods of non contact with our parents. One of my siblings has very long term non contact with one of my parents.

Despite all the abuse and unhappiness, I do keep in contact with my father. I find this easier than no contact. He's never going to say sorry for how he behaved. I have found it possible many many years later to let go of the anger, have no expectations of him at all, and keep some superficial contact with him. This includes having dinner with him and other family members once in a while. That's doesn't mean I've forgotten about my childhood, it just means I've managed to move on. But I know that's not possible for everyone.

IamtheDevilsAvocado Mon 17-Aug-15 02:05:27

Bloody hell OP poor you! flowers. Sounds a vile time your dad put you through. Good on you for being so strong!

I don't think you're being unreasonable to be so upset... People do process things differently, but this must feel a real kick in the teeth for you from your mum and sister... Minimising all the abuse and violence he has put you through.
I think sometimes its just a whole lot easier for some people to just pretend the abuse wasn't that bad/didnt happen at means you don't have to engage with the past at all. Also it means they can pretend normality around your dad... When it was far from this.

All i can say, i do understand, a bit, how this feels. Sounds you have a fab partner.
I wish you well.

Mumbehavingbadly Mon 17-Aug-15 03:28:11

Similar almoat identical childhood experiences here.

Sounds like you need counselling to be able to move on from the feelings that cause you distress.

People change, people forgive and some people forget - giving the second chance is their prerogative. It may be the best way for them to come to terms with, grow and move on from that traumatic life experience.

But you do need to deal with your feelings.
In my family the ones who hadn't come to terms/made their peace/moved on - however you want to phrase it - by the time DF died (he did all your DF did and some!) are still struggling today. They will carry the struggle forever as the opportunity to find their peace has gone. They have no answers to gnawing questions.

View this incident as an opportunity for you to deal with these childhood hurts. Do it for you and your DC as it will be subconsciously impacting your parenting.

Do it with some objevtive/ professional help so you make the best decisions for your future.

But you can't expect everyone to agree with your decision or force them to follow your course of action and managing these relationships is something you also need to get help with too.

Agreeing to disagree may be the best outcome that you can achieve as a famiky but you need to be less conflicted, less bothered by the decisions made by other family members and confident in your own course of action so that you can communicate it clearly and have non confrontational strategies to hand for dealing with those times like your DMs call.

laffymeal Mon 17-Aug-15 08:20:05

That's horrible op. My mum always put my dad first and I had similar childhood memories. She never left him though, they were married for 62 years.
A few years before he died my dad was very verbally abusive to me, I looked to mum for support and was told "you must have provoked him", brother and sister were similarly unsympathetic. They can all get to fuck grin

SilentlyScreamingAgain Mon 17-Aug-15 08:58:02

So, when you were a small child your father assaulted you so violently, he broke your bones, then your mother let him back into the house afterwards. Now she wants you to join in playing happy families?

I call bullshite on anyone using the words ‘forgiving’ or ‘moving on’, your father is a monster and your mother failed you to the point where she doesn’t deserve that title.

I can’t express how sorry I am that you weren’t protected as a child, you are not being unreasonable, you do not need to get a grip, you need a big fucking pat on the back for having endured this and still managing to function as a parent.

LumpySpacedPrincess Mon 17-Aug-15 09:09:11

What a horrible situation. You have been badly let down by your mother, then and now. I have met people who get a little high from the whole forgiveness thing, "look at me and how magnanimous I am."

Something similar happened in my family and the abused party would not meet up with the abuser, even though the rest of the family were riding high on the tide of "forgiveness."

LiquidAshTree Mon 17-Aug-15 09:17:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LiquidAshTree Mon 17-Aug-15 09:19:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Bing0wings Mon 17-Aug-15 11:06:42

Yanbu. I just can't believe your DM invited him over after all of that! I really can't get my head round it. Don't let anyone make you feel that you are being unreasonable in staying away from your Dad. Abusive men always blame everyone else for their bad behaviour. They generally talk rubbish. It screws with your head. Do what is right for you and your DCs. Your DH is fab.

schlong Mon 17-Aug-15 11:25:14

Most emphatic YANBU ever. Go NC with your awful m. So sorry for you op. She's probably scape goated you over the years in order to absolve herself of the guilt of not leaving the abusive fucker sooner. Let go of them all. You have found someone you deserve in your dh. They do not deserve

redshoeblueshoe Mon 17-Aug-15 11:51:08

Emerald - did you miss the bit when her mum said all the important ones were there

OP your M is a bitch, luckily your DH is great. I'd seriously go NC with your M.

bigbumtheory Mon 17-Aug-15 13:08:42

She was horrible in her words and I wonder if she is normally so?

They have all rewritten history because your dad is their weakness and pathetically your mother will still always put him first. I think the affair was obviously an arsehole move but thank fuck for it because it sounds like your mum would be with him now otherwise.

Do you feel betrayed? Does she normally put him before you and try to downplay his abuse? Her behavior is pretty abusive in itself imo.

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